Statement by Mr. Hu Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the 2003 Session of the Conference on Disarmament
(August 7, 2003, Geneva)
At the plenary of July 31, I addressed the issue of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). Today, I would like to expound on the views and position of the Chinese delegation on the CD's program of work.
The Chinese delegation has all along held that given the divergent views of various sides on the priority of CD's work, it is imperative to take into considerations concerns of all sides in a comprehensive and balanced manner and conduct negotiations on all important items such as nuclear disarmament, FMCT, PAROS and NSA simultaneously. This is the right way to conclude a program of work in a smooth manner and is commensurate with the nature of the CD. However, it is regrettable that CD has yet to formulate such a program of work to date.
It is well-known that the Chinese delegation has always been supportive of CD's work and in favor of negotiations on nuclear disarmament, NSA and fissile material cut-off. This position remains unchanged. On the other hand, given the development and change of situations, the insufficiency of the current legal system in preventing the weaponization of outer space and the fast development of space weapon technologies in particular, outer space is faced with the danger of being weaponized. Therefore, it has become both pressing and necessary to conduct negotiations on the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. The Chinese side has consistently maintained that, in order to prevent the mishaps from emerging, the CD should establish an Ad Hoc committee on PAROSand negotiate relevant international legal instrument to prevent the weaponization of outer space and prohibit outer space weapons without any delay. Serving the fundamental purpose of peaceful uses of outer space, this position is beneficial to the interests of all countries, including the major space powers. It also meets the requirements of UNGA's PAROSresolutions adopted in recent years and therefore enjoys the understanding and support of an overwhelming majority of states.
As the single multilateral negotiating forum in the field of arms control and disarmament, the CD has been unable to conduct substantive work for six years. In order to break the deadlock, Chinahas already demonstrated immense flexibility. In June 2002, China no longer insisted on a negotiating mandate for the Ad Hoc committee on PAROS and proposed instead that relevant work should be conducted "with a view to negotiating relevant international legal instrument" (contained in CD/1682). While a great majority of delegations expressed appreciation for this proposal, the CD still failed to come up with a program of work on PAROSon this basis.
Many delegations have made great efforts in formulating a program of work for the CD and tabled a number of constructive proposals. Following the Amorim proposal, Ambassador Dembri of Algeria, on behalf of five ambassadors, put forward an initiative on the CD's program of work on July 31, 2002. On January 23 this year, Ambassador Lint of Belgium formally tabled the initiative on behalf of the five ambassadors (contained in CD/1693). On June 26, Ambassador Lint, on behalf of the five ambassadors, amended the mandate of PAROS Ad Hoc committee contained in the five ambassador's initiative by deleting "without prejudice" and adding "including the possibility of negotiating relevant international legal instrument". It should be pointed out that this newly amended mandate is still far from meeting China's position "with a view to negotiating relevant international legal instrument".
In order for the CD to restart its substantive work and taking into consideration the concerns of relevant sides, China would like to demonstrate flexibility once again. China accepts the mandate of the PAROS Ad Hoc committee as proposed and tabled by the Five Ambassadors on June 26 and is prepared to join the consensus on the A5 initiative on the program of work (CD/1693, with the new wording as amended on June 26). It is our hope that other relevant sides respond positively to China's constructive attitude, so that the CD could start substantive work as early as possible.
Thank you, Mr. President.